Official Statement from Flight Control 1900UTC (2000BST) Weds 29th September 2010

Don Cameron, Race Director, has issued this statement at 1900UTC (2000BST) on 29th September 2010, which is available to download in PDF format at the bottom of the page, and reproduced below in text form.


News Announcement 19.00 GMT, Gordon Bennett Control Centre The balloon flying in the Gordon Bennett race designated USA2, registration N801NM is still missing as night falls. The pilots are American citizens, Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer-Davis.

At 05.58Z this morning (29th September) we received the last signal from the tracker device, which normally gives us the balloon position every 15 minutes. This position is shown on the web site We were contacted around that time also by Brindisi Air Traffic Control who had lost contact with the balloon. Mr. Luc Trullemans, meteorologist, has had a conversation with one of the pilots at 06.05Z. No contact has been established since. The balloon is equipped with satellite telephone, VHF radios, radar transponder and two mobile telephones. It has not been possible to make contact on any of these. Thunderstorms were present in the area.

A search and rescue operation has been launched by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) involving several aircraft and a fast patrol boat. The Croatian authorities and all shipping in the area have also been notified. Nothing has been found so far and no signal has been detected from the Emergency Location Transmitter, which should activate on contact with water. We have been able to supply the MRCC with some information on the safety equipment carried and technical aspects of the balloon. The balloon is equipped with survival suits, lifejackets and two single-person life rafts.

Nineteen other balloons were flying in the event and we have confirmation that all of these have landed safely and all other pilots are safe and well.

We are hoping that good news will come, but are becoming increasingly concerned as nightfall approaches. We are in close contact with Richard and Carol’s families. The search will be scaled down overnight, but will be resumed at first light. There will be no further bulletins until the search resumes tomorrow.

Don Cameron
Flight Director
54th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett

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Please download the PDF attached below, which contains the same information on headed paper.

Gordon Bennett 2010 Press Release 1900Z 29Sep2010634.35 KB